Earlier this week Google shared via some social media networks a claim that it had closed their own gender pay gap globally and eliminated a racial pay gap in the U.S. Despite that claim, the company finds itself in hot water and facing some bad press thanks to a claim made in a U.S. court hearing in which the Department of Labor alleged their analysis shows “discrimination against women in Google is quite extreme.”
During the hearing, the Department of Labor attorneys indicated they had evidence that “systemic compensation disparities” exist at Google through the company’s entire workforce. Outside the hearing in separate comments, regional solicitor Janet Herold stated,
“The investigation is not complete, but at this point the department has received compelling evidence of very significant discrimination against women in the most common positions at Google headquarters.”
Google has denied the allegations are true and maintains their own internal compensation analysis, which they conduct every year, shows no such pay gap exists. Google attorney Lisa Barnett Sween stated during the hearing that the Department of Labor is engaged in a “fishing expedition” although it does not appear she responded directly to the claims of a gender pay gap. In a subsequent statement issued by Google, the company says,
“We vehemently disagree with [Wipper’s] claim. Every year, we do a comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders and we have found no gender pay gap. Other than making an unfounded statement which we heard for the first time in court, the DoL hasn’t provided any data, or shared its methodology.”
The hearing surrounds an attempt by the Department of Labor to gain additional access to Google’s pay and compensation records. Because Google is a federal contractor, part of their agreement gives the Federal government access to records so the government can verify compliance with equal opportunity laws. In reviewing 2015 records, the Department of Labor determined a problem existed and is seeking additional documentation to examine the root cause and perhaps how long the condition has existed. Google has balked at the request and refused to grant access, triggering the legal action by the government.
During the hearing, government lawyers asked the judge to cancel all federal contracts between Google and the U.S. government as well as prohibit future contracts until Google agrees to comply with the audit requests.